Cloud Computing is about as hyped up a market as SMB Research can ever recall seeing. This is good for the software and technology vendors (and us Analysts); not so good for the end-user. This article will try to make some sense out of the flurry of recent Cloud-related activity, focusing principally on the major Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IAAS) players, but with brief discussion also of the PAAS and SAAS spaces. There continues to be lot of (and perhaps even an increase in) jockeying for position. As always, I would enjoy hearing from you to hear your sense of the cloud market, the vendor positioning, or your experience with the cloud technologies.
Recent and Key Vendor Announcements
- Amazon Web Services Expands Free Support and Lowers Prices on Premium Tiers, June 14, 2012
- Amazon Web Services Announces First Global Customer and Partner Conference: AWS re: Invent, May 9, 2012
- Amazon Web Services Introduces AWS Marketplace Where Customers Can Find and Buy Pre-Configured Software for the AWS Cloud, April 19, 2012
- Amazon Web Services Launches, March 14, 2006
- AT&T’s Cloud Architect Is A Bold Step Into Public IaaS, February 3, 2012
- From Idea to App: New AT&T Service Allows Almost Anyone to Develop Cloud-Based Business Apps, November 15, 2011
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Eucalyptus Partner to Bring Additional Compatibility Between AWS and On-Premises IT Environments, March 22, 2012
- HP Expands Converged Cloud Portfolio, June 5, 2012
- HP Moves HP Cloud Services to Public Beta, May 10, 2012
- HP Delivers Agility without Compromise with HP Converged Cloud, April 10, 2012
- IBM Unveils New Smart Cloud Services to Give Enterprises Control of the Cloud, Oct 12, 2011
- IBM Unveils Smart Cloud Services and Technologies for the Enterprise, April 7, 2011
- Meet the New Windows Azure, June 7, 2012
- Now Available: New Services and Enhancements to Windows Azure, June 7, 2012
- Announcing New Windows Azure Services to Deliver “Hybrid Cloud”, June 6, 2012
- Microsoft Cloud Services Vision Becomes Reality With Launch of Windows Azure Platform, Nov. 17, 2009
- Oracle Unveils Industry’s Broadest Cloud Strategy, June 6, 2012
- Oracle Unveils Oracle Public Cloud, October 5, 2011
- Rackspace Announces Availability of Production Ready Next Generation Cloud Powered by OpenStack, April 16, 2012
- Red Hat Delivers Cloud Flexibility and Agility to Enterprises with Innovative Infrastructure-as-a-Service Platform, June 6, 2012
Other IAAS vendors (partial list) to pay attention to:
Bluelock (Bluelock Virtual Data Center); CA technologies; Cloudscaling (Open Cloud OS); CSC (CloudCompute); Enomaly (Elastic Computing Platform); Joyent (SmartDataCenter); Layered Tech; Logicworks; NaviSite (NaviCloud Platform); OpenStack; OpSource; Savvis (Symphony Virtual Private Data Center); Terremark (Enterprise Cloud)
What Does it All Mean?
Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS)
Much of the activity in the IAAS area involves companies trying to to avoid the predicted commoditization in this space. So while companies like Microsoft see an opportunity to take on and compete with the market leader, Amazon Web Services, the IAAS players already in the market are making moves to add capabilities that enable them to offer more than capacity and infrastructure.
AT&T’s announcement of their Cloud Architect is an example of this. Cloud Architect is AT&T’s new “pure public cloud service” intended as a “down market” offering for developers, ISVs and tech-savvy SMBs. Cloud Architect’s configurability and time-to-setup are its key differentiators.
The Amazon Web Services – Eucalyptus hookup is all about enabling customers to more easily move workloads between internal data centers and AWS. An agreement that enables customers to more efficiently migrate workloads between their existing data centers and AWS while using the same management tools and skills across both environments. As part of this agreement, AWS will support Eucalyptus as they continue to extend compatibility with AWS APIs and customer use cases. Customers can run applications in their existing data centers that are compatible with popular Amazon Web Services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
HP, IBM, Rackspace, and Red Hat, adherents of the OpenStack movement (announced in October 2011), which is intended to address the vendor lock-in concerns. HP, Rackspace, and Red Hat have announced offerings. IBM’s strategy, as articulated by IBM’s Lauren States on June 14th, is to “capture the higher-value services that sit on top of the stack…We are working on integrating the OpenStack into our stack.”
It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that Amazon Web Service has announced changes and reductions to its support pricing, while announcing some new features. We can expect to continue to see these competitive volleys between the large enterprise vendors (HP, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP) who have turf to defend from the pure cloud players.
Platform as a Service (PAAS)
There is considerable speculation, and perhaps even some evidence beyond speculation, that PAAS is where the action will be. As cloud adoption continues to gain momentum, vendors and service providers in the PAAS sector are investing in the development of ever more sophisticated software, and faster deployment of this software to the cloud. Expect to see increasing blurring of the boundary between IAAS and PAAS as part of the competitive plays, with the issue of vendor lock-in getting a lot of attention.
Software as a Service (SAAS)
The SAAS sector has arguably had a run as the sexiest area of the three. Given the all too familiar concerns around software implementation costs, continual upgrades, and maintenance and support fees, SAAS quickly generated a lot of interest, and even some hope as a panacea. The discussion now seems to be whether and how soon PAAS eclipses SAAS as PAAS technologies increase in capability and usability, and as the lingering pro’s and con’s of SAAS are highlighted.
- Clarity in the Cloud, Steven Hill, KPMG LLP, 2011
- Amazon is No. 1. Who’s next in cloud computing?, Barb Darrow, on GigaOM, March 14, 2012
- Amazon data center size, Huan Liu, on Huan Liu’s Blog, March 13, 2012
- How to Plan Your Cloud Migration, CITO Research’s Dan Woods, in Forbes, June 11, 2012
- Does SAP’s Cloud Strategy reflect a convergence of trends?, Cindy Jutras on the Mint Jutras blog, December 29, 2011.
- SAP Rides the Cloud and Small Business Trend, Ann Grackin and Bill McBeath, ChainLink Research, on the SAP for Small and Midsize Enterprises (SMEs) blog, March 29, 2012
- Cloud’s Big Caveat: Runaway Costs, Charles Babcock, on InformationWeek, June 07, 2012
- 4 Causes Of Cloud Bill Shock, Beth Stackpole, InformationWeek, May 29, 2012
- The great debate: Windows Azure vs. Amazon Web Services, Craig Knighton and Zach Richardson, on GigaOM, Sep. 4, 2011
- Cloud Computing Conference & Expo 2012 East, June 11 – 14, 2012, New York City #CloudExpo
- Cloud Computing World Forum, June 12-13, 2012, London , UK #CCWF
- Deploycon 2012, Enterprise PaaS Summit, June 13, 2012, New York, #paassummit
- GigaOM’s Structure, June 20-21, 2012, San Francisco, CA #structureconf
- Cloud Connect, September 10-13, 2012, Chicago, IL #ccevent
- Cloud Channel Summit, November 5, 2012, Mountain View, CA
- Cloud Computing Conference & Expo 2012 West, November 5 – 8, 2012, Santa Clara #CloudExpo
- AWS re: Invent 2012, November 27-29, 2012, Las VegasCloudBeat2012, November 28-29, 2012, Redwood City, CA
- Cloud Expo Europe 2013, January 29-20, 2013, London, UK
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